Jobs unveils iPad 2: sleeker, more powerful, same price

If the launch of Apple's iPad 2 tablet computer was expected today, the appearance onstage of ailing CEO Steve Jobs was not. And it set the tone for the entire event: he was welcomed by a standing ovation.

As many predicted, the new iPad is thinner and lighter than the original, packs a powerful dual-core processor and will, Jobs promised, ship in black and white on Day One. Prices, expected by some to drop, are staying unchanged. The new hardware comes with a new version of the iOS operating system, dubbed iOS 4.3.

ANALYSIS: iPads storm the enterprise 

Early reports that the iPad 2 might be delayed proved false: the new tablet ships March 11 in the U.S., and March 25 in many other countries. (Speculation swirled earlier in the day that the RIM PlayBook might play an iPad 2 spoiler, but rumor is the enterprise-focused tablet won't ship until April 10.)

Jobs, who is on medical leave though was seen last month at a tech executive dinner with President Barack Obama, seemed thinner than usual, in his customary faded jeans and black turtleneck. But that was the only sign of his unidentified affliction: he had numbers readily to hand, and made his points quietly and authoritatively. The numbers show Apple's remarkable emergence as a leader, possibly the defining company, in what Jobs called a "post-PC" world.

Apple's greatest hits under Steve Jobs

Apple has just paid out over $2 billion to iOS developers, and recently shipped the 100 millionth iPhone (and iPhone 5 fever is already rolling) . The majority of Apple's revenues now come from post-PC products: iPhone, iPod touch, iPod, and iPad.

Inside iPad 2

As expected, iPad 2 sports a dual-core processor, Apple's custom-designed A4 chip. It delivers up to twice the performance of the A4, and is nine times faster in graphics performance. Jobs predicted it will be "the first dual core tablet to ship in volume."

Dual-core Android tablets have been announced, but are not due to ship until later in 2011. Full iPad 2 specs are online.

The new Apple tablet is "dramatically thinner" than the original: at 0.34 inches, compared to 0.5 inches for the original tablet. That revelation drew another round of applause. It's also lighter: 1.3 pounds instead of 1.5 pounds, "You might not think that's a lot, but when you get down to 1.5 pounds, a tenth of a pound is a lot," Jobs said.

It is marginally narrower and a smidgen shorter than iPad 1: at 7.31 inches x 9.5.

There will be six models, three with Wi-Fi, three adding 3G, including 3G CDMA, enabling iPad users to employ Verizon's data services, for example. All have the same storage options: 16G, 32G, 64GB.

Pricing is unchanged, starting at $499. Jobs noted that five of the six models will be less than the $799 of most of the iPad's announced rivals.

Battery life is unchanged: 10 hours, with a month of standby.

Accessories include an innovative "Smart Case," that is held in place by magnets that auto-align the covering over the tablet screen. It takes only a second to put it on. Polyurethane cases are $39 and leather cases are $69.

Another accessory is HDMI video output, via a dock accessory cable, priced at $39.

The new version of iOS, 4.3, available on March 11, brings a dramatic performance boost for the Safari browser. Apple took the Nitro JavaScript engine from Mac OS X and moved it to iOS. The result, according to Apple, is that JavaScript runs twice as fast as before.

The new OS release will also enable iTunes home sharing: media files stored in iTunes on a Mac can be accessed from an iOS device via Wi-Fi.

Finally, iPad 2 adds two cameras, front and rear facing, and support for Apple's FaceTime video chat application. The new iPad can use Wi-Fi to make video calls with any other iOS device supporting FaceTime, which means nearly all of them.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnww

Blog RSS feed: http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/2989/feed

Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags wirelessAppleNetworkingData CenterPChardware systemstablet PCslaptopsConfiguration / maintenanceiPad 2

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Cox

Network World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?